As much as we love and respect the 4th of July as a time to watch fireworks, put anything and everything we can plausibly think of onto a grill, and whip bang snaps onto the sidewalk with one hand while drinking non-stop Budweiser out of those American flag cans with the other—really, it’s one of the best holidays on the calendar—it’s also a holiday about history.
No need to belabor any points about patriotism or respecting your forefathers or even just generally appreciating the significance of things that have happened in the past (for that, this 2005 interview with David McCullough is a total delight, and Henry has a great recent round up of local war memorials), but still, Brooklyn played a hugely significant role in this whole thing (“this whole thing” being the existence of America as we know it), and one that’s often skimmed over and sorely under-appreciated. No more. Before we totally give ourselves over to blowing things up and scream-singing “Born in the USA” without really thinking about the lyrics—though even if you do, isn’t protest sort of inherently patriotic? Aaaah! USA! USA!—let’s take a look at a few of Brooklyn’s more significant sites from the war. Some have been better preserved than others, to put it lightly.